The Littlefield Family Celebrates Excellence in Optometry with Two Endowments

Fay Littlefield loves preparing taxes.

“Taxes are fun!” said the retired IRS examining officer.

Fay was preparing taxes for a Pacific University student when she realized that she had the means to establish her own scholarship.

The student brought in a list of all his scholarships, and that’s when Fay realized that every little bit makes a difference to students.

“A scholarship could be $1,000 and still count … it would still make a difference,” she said.

Fay, whose initial connection to Pacific started with her daughter, Susan Littlefield OD ’94, a College of Optometry alumnus and now faculty member, established the Littlefield Family Endowed Scholarship. Shortly thereafter, she also created the Dr. Susan Littlefield Public Health Outreach Program Award in her daughter’s honor.

The Littlefield Family Endowed Scholarship will be awarded annually to one optometry student from a rural community. The Littlefields are originally from North Dakota and witnessed first-hand how Pacific’s nurturing community benefits students.

“People coming from rural areas don’t have access to many scholarships,” Fay said. “I could invest in the people. You just don’t know who is out there who is going to make a difference.”

Susan, for example, has touched lives in ways she never imagined. Susan spent a year in a teaching fellowship at Pacific after earning her doctor of optometry, then moved to Seattle to practice optometry. She later returned, though, to take an outreach position at her alma mater, where she launched the College of Optometry’s outreach program.

Susan was the first driver of the Pacific EyeVan and ran the outreach program for nine years. Today, Susan teaches third year patient care and refractive surgery and is also the director of the Pacific EyeClinic Beaverton. But the outreach program remains close to her heart and she’s proud of its growth, including the brand new mobile clinic that debuted last spring.

Fay, too, is proud of Susan’s work, which is why she surprised Susan by naming the outreach award in her honor.   

“It was a major accomplishment, coming from North Dakota and doing what she has done with the EyeVan,” Fay said.

The Dr. Susan Littlefield Public Health Outreach Program Award, which will be given to a third-year optometry student in recognition of their work with the EyeVan and outreach program, will recognize “someone who is out there, working with the people.”

That kind of effort is important to both Littlefield women, who take their own community contributions seriously. Susan continues to provide vision care to underserved populations through AMIGOS Eye Care, while Fay — who followed Susan to Oregon 12 years ago — is spending her retirement volunteering at a local theater and the Hillsboro Library. And, of course, they are both committed to supporting Pacific students.

“I was so touched to hear the Littlefield family is supporting our students in such a generous way,” said Dr. Jennifer Coyle ’90, OD ’93, MS '00, dean of the College of Optometry. “Their gifts will help us continue to attract the best students to Pacific Optometry and inspire future generations to reach out into their communities and serve the people who desperately need access to eye and vision care. It is such a multi-dimensional gift, and I am so grateful to Fay and Dr. Littlefield.”

Pacific University is committed to inspiring students to think, care, create, and pursue justice. Gifts to the university support its $80 million fundraising campaign, Lead On: The Campaign for Tomorrow at Pacific University, which seeks to grow endowments, learning environments and innovations for a boundless future for students. To learn how to support student scholarships, outreach and other programs like the Littlefields, visit pacificu.edu/lead-on.

Mar. 14, 2018